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Hello, I need to do a report on can a child under the age of 6 form criminal intent? I need to prove developmentally and all that why that child can't under age of 6 I am having problems finding websites to go to for research thanks

  • Psychology -

    In the context of criminal intent -- a 6 year old is considered an infant.

    Every state has a state penal code section that defines "infant" as it relates to criminal intent and the law.

    Here's a sample:

    California Penal Code Section 26

    All persons are capable of committing crimes except those
    belonging to the following classes:

    One--Children under the age of 14, in the absence of clear proof
    that at the time of committing the act charged against them, they
    knew its wrongfulness.

    Excuse: Infancy - Modern Status

    The infancy defense has been largely superseded by the establishment of a dual adult/juvenile justice system in which

    (1) the juvenile court has jurisdiction over prosecutions of children below a certain age (usually set at ages sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen), although typically "waiver" or "transfer" statutes provide for adult criminal prosecution of children at the upper end of the juvenile court's age bracket if they are charged with enumerated serious crimes; and

    (2) in some states, a juvenile court statute or case law categorically bars the prosecution of very young children (usually following the common law in designating the age at seven, although some states set the minimum age at ten). Adult penal code statutes in some states explicitly refer to the infancy defense in denominating children who fall within the juvenile court's jurisdiction as ineligible for adult court prosecution unless the state shows at a waiver or transfer hearing that the child should be deemed criminally responsible for his or her acts.

    (See, e.g., N.Y. Penal Code § 30.00. See also Model Penal Code § 4.10 (Official Draft 1985), "Immaturity Excluding Criminal Conviction; Transfer of Proceedings to Juvenile Court.")

  • Psychology -

    These are not my words:

    "In the US, no. Children 6 yrs old can not be held responsible for their actions. They may be remanded, by the juvenile court to a psychiatric hospital, if they are found to be a threat to themselves or others, up to the age of 18 to 21 yrs old, depending on state statutes. At that point their status will be re-evaluated and a determination will be made to the stability of their mental status. In some cases these crimes are carried out by influence they may have witnessed in their home or surroundings. Example; Parental abuse, physical & mental, either toward them, siblings or parents. Psychological and physical abuse, at any age, can lead to violent behavior , but is most prevalent at an early age."

  • Psychology -

    I quote:

    "In a 1893 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that "children under the age of 7 years could not be guilty of felony, or punished for any capital offense, for within that age the child is conclusively presumed incapable of committing a crime." This is followed in many U.S. states."

  • Psychology -

    Thank you I need to show developmentl reasons why a child under age 6 can't form criminal intent so far i have brain development.

  • Psychology -

    I don't know about the legal definition, but the psychological/medical definition of infant/infancy is under 2 years of age.

    Have you explored Piaget's cognitive stages?

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